No matter what I do, I never seem to pick the good guy. Or the right guy. Whatever. So maybe I’d like the love of my life to be the good, right guy. Is that a crime?
The date had started fine. He picked me up in a car that didn’t smell of gasoline, yesterday’s fast food, or dog (which was a step up from the last blind date I’d been on). We went to a respectable restaurant, neither cheap nor expensive, so there wasn’t any of the “I paid a lot for dinner and now I expect something” pressure waiting in the wings.
I thought that things had gone well. We had conversation that was pleasant enough. I didn’t spill or burp (which was a step up over the blind date time before last). He was perfectly nice and didn’t seem at all pervy. Then his phone rang.
“I’m sorry,” he said, reaching for the phone. “I’m on call tonight. I’ve got to get this – someone might not be able to access their e-mail and the world might stop.” He was his company’s IT professional, Joan had told me when she set this date up. He had just gotten out of a fairly serious relationship and was looking to, and I quote, “meet someone nice.” I fancy myself that kind of girl, so what the heck, right?
He got a strange look when he looked at the ringing phone and recognized the number. “Sandy?” he said. Did I mention that the “fairly serious relationship” was with a “Sandy?”
“Now’s not a great time,” he started. He made a little progress digging out of the hole he dug with me by answering the phone in the first place. A little.
“Look, you had your chance…,” he said. “What do you mean ‘better late than never?’”
Then a funny look came over his face. The anger that had been there started to soften.
“I’ve missed you, too, but that doesn’t change any…”
Then she must have said something that DID change something.
“Okay. Yeah. Yeah.”
He looked guiltily over at me. I waved. I’m pretty sure I was smirking. I don’t usually, but this seemed to be a good time to break it out, sensing the dump that was coming.
“I’ll be right there.” A pause. “Yeah, me too.”
He put the phone back in his pocket and started to say something. I mercy-stopped him.
“Go,” I said. “Pick up the check and go.”
“Will you be able to get a ride home?” he asked?
“Oh, sure. You run along now. Don’t forget to pick up the check.”
“Thanks,” he said, getting up. “I really did have a great time with you.”
“Give Sandy my best,” I said. Was that catty? It sounded catty. I don’t care, though.
“Okay. Good night.” And with that, he leaves.
I have my suspicions he didn’t get the check.
(an exercise based on the “Dated” exercise from Take Ten for Writers by Bonnie Neubauer)